Two cannons and a monument mark this one-acre (less than a football field) National Park Service (NPS) site surrounded by the city of Tupelo, Mississippi. The park was established in 1929 to memorialize the battle of July 14, 1864, when the Union army drove off Confederate troops trying to disrupt General William T. Sherman’s railroad supply line at the historic town of Harrisburg. Located only one mile off the Natchez Trace Parkway, Tupelo’s own Elvis Presley probably visited this park as a child.
Unlike other NPS sites, Tupelo National Battlefield provides
much easier access to a car wash and a Walmart store. Its visitor center is combined with the one
for the Natchez Trace Parkway just outside Tupelo. The city of Baldwyn, Mississippi runs an
interpretive center (with a small admission fee) that also commemorates a
Confederate victory on June 10, 1864 at Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield
There is a sidewalk on two sides of the one-acre park.
This is one of the smallest units in the NPS system, but from one angle, Tupelo National Battlefield looks like many larger Civil War parks.
“They get about a week of spring then the summer is
blistering.” –Jason Isbell from the song “Tupelo”
Jamestown and Yorktown, Virginia are linked by the 23-mile Colonial Parkway, which passes through the well-known tourist attraction of Colonial Williamsburg. After the colony of Fort Raleigh proved a disaster, it was not until 1607 that the first successful English settlement was founded at Jamestown, Virginia. On October 18, 1781, General Charles Cornwallis surrendered his British troops at Yorktown, effectively ending the Revolutionary War. Though it was more than two years before a peace settlement was reached and General George Washington was able to march back into New York City, from where he retreated in 1776.
Remember back in 1777 in the aftermath of the battles of Saratoga when the French said they would help kick the British out of the 13 colonies? Well, not much happened until nearly four years later when Admiral de Grasse defeated the British fleet at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. The ships were unable to resupply General Charles Cornwallis’ troops at Yorktown, who then faced a siege by the combined American and French forces. Inside the National Park Service visitor center at Yorktown is a replica of a French ship that you can walk aboard without getting seasick. It also has a replica of General George Washington’s battlefield tent. Outside, cannons abound along the auto tour.
Five miles of trails wind through Old Towne and New Towne in
Jamestown, Virginia. There is an entry
fee charged, since most of this section of the park is run by the non-profit
organization Preservation Virginia. This
includes admission to the excellent Voorhees Archaearium, a museum built atop
the foundation of the historic statehouse.
Do not miss the reproduction glassblowing house. This area also contains portions of the
Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary War National Historic Trail and Captain
John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail.
The original 1607 James Fort was triangular in shape and, of course, had cannons facing the James River.
Visiting Yorktown is $10 per person or free with the America the Beautiful pass, but entering Jamestown requires a payment of $20 per person or $5 per person with the America the Beautiful pass. There is a separate entry fee for nearby Jamestowne Settlement living history museum , but it is free to walk the streets of Colonial Williamsburg (more info on our other travel blog).
All roads paved
There is no camping permitted within the park, but several private campgrounds can be found in the area, as well as numerous hotels since you will probably want to spend more than a day given the park’s proximity to Colonial Williamsburg.
Explore More – When an “ill” General Cornwallis sent his second-in-command to formally surrender his 8,000 troops, General George Washington was insulted and deferred the honor of accepting to whom?
Saratoga National Historical Park was the site of two 1777 Revolutionary War battles at Freeman’s Farm on September 19 and Bemis Heights on October 7, which together are considered the turning point in the war. Following this decisive victory when 6,000 British soldiers surrendered, the French King officially entered the war on the side of the Americans, providing the equivalent of $1.4-billion in aid by war’s end.
Museum, film, Neilson Farm, Boot Monument, Bemis Heights,
the Great Redoubt
Start at the National Park Service (NPS) visitor center
where displays describe the two separate battles that took place here. The 10-mile driving tour has ten stops that
provide more details. Do not look for
Saratoga, New York on maps today, it was renamed Schuylerville in honor of a
Revolutionary War general. Nonetheless,
since 1883 it has been home to the 155-foot tall Saratoga Monument
commemorating these battles.
There are a few short trails accessed along the driving tour,
but you should at least plan to park and climb the stairs at Breymann
Redoubt. At the top, an unmarked
monument draped with a boot commemorates the leg injury suffered in the
fighting by General Benedict Arnold, whose name would go down in history synonymous
with his later traitorous actions downstream at West Point.
The American defensive location at Bemis Heights was chosen by Colonel Thaddeus Kosciuszko, a Polish engineer serving in the Continental Army, to block the British army from moving south down the Hudson River. It still provides commanding views of the valley.
At the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay near Yorktown, Virginia, there is a brick fort so large it puts all others to shame. It was held throughout the Civil War by the Union Army, hosting President Lincoln multiple times and providing a refuge for escaped slaves. Following the War Between the States it served as a prison for Confederate President Jefferson Davis (his cell is contained within the Casemate Museum). The fort was not decommissioned by the military until 2011 when it was declared Fort Monroe National Monument, though it still contains private residences.
Casemate Museum, Building #50, moat you can drive over
After you visit the Casemate Museum, walk around the ramparts and the parade ground with its countless live oak trees, including the 500-year-old Algernourne Oak. Nearby Outlook Beach is popular for swimming, as is North Beach which is also part of the National Monument.
There is a self-guided walking tour that passes Building #50 (the house President Lincoln stayed in) and the Algernourne Oak. Watch for traffic when you cross the moat through the East Gate.
The author Edgar Allen Poe served here in 1828, so you can pose with him and his raven inside the Casemate Museum.
Open year round, though the summertime brings more tourists to the Yorktown Peninsula.
After FDR protected this very first historic site within the National Park Service (NPS) system in 1935, Fort Stanwix was finally reconstructed in the 1970s after demolishing the existing buildings in downtown Rome, New York. Visitors today will surely agree it was worth the effort, as were the recent updates in the excellent Visitor Center.
Reconstructed fort, best historical museum in the NPS System
The NPS museum inside the Marinus Willett Visitor Center is superb with videos and kiosks providing four different characters’ perspectives on the events of the American Revolution in Upstate New York. There are also costumed reenactors inside the fort, another reason why this National Monument is an example of historical interpretation at its best.
A short trail follows a portion of the Oneida Carrying Place and another leads to the historic Erie Canal.
Viewed from the drawbridge, you get an up-close look at the parapet and fraise (sharpened wooden stakes) of the reconstructed Fort Stanwix.